O`Brien and Hampson Unveiled At Heys

Thu 14th April 2022 | Prestwich Heys
By Martin Fallon

Prestwich Heys have appointed Lee O’Brien and James Hampson as their new Management Team after parting ways with Matt Barnes.

In a dramatic week at Adie Moran Park, Heys announced last Wednesday that they were ending the two-and-a-half-year reign of Barnes as Manager. In a statement the club said “Prestwich Heys have today parted company with Manager Matt Barnes.

"The club has decided that they wish to pursue a different direction going forward in terms of looking to challenge at the top end of the NW Counties Premier Division and seeking long-term progression. It has not been an easy decision to part ways, Matt has worked tirelessly in looking to bring success and strengthen the football and medical operations of the club.

"We would like to thank Matt for all his hard work and the contribution he has made to the club and we wish him well for the future”

Barnes joined the club in October 2019 as joint Manager with Jon Lyons. He then became Manager when Lyons stepped down on 10th December 2019.

When the season was curtailed due to the COVID outbreak, Heys were seventh in the NW Counties League Division One North and sixth when the 2020-21 campaign was curtailed after five games. In an FA restructure Heys playing record over those two seasons saw them promoted to the NW Counties Premier Division for 2021-22, the highest level at which the club has played. They maintained that top flight status with six matches to go whilst enjoying a run to the last sixty-four of the FA Vase.

The appointment of O’Brien and Hampson marks a return to Adie Moran Park for both. O’Brien came to prominence as he emerged from Rob Evans’ successful youth sides of the late nineties and early noughties which produced a whole host of players for the club.

However, O’Brien embarked on a successful career away from Heys, playing for AVRO, New Mills, Droylsden and Stockport Town. He returned to the club for his final season as a player in the 2016-17 season as Heys narrowly missed out on the promotion play offs in their first season back in the NW Counties League.

Hampson was also a member of that squad, his career having followed a similar path with spells at AVRO, New Mills, Stockport, Droylsden and in Welsh Football.

Both then turned to Management, returning to AVRO, where they won the Manchester League Premier Division title and promotion to the NW Counties League in their first season.

As AVRO moved to their new home at the Vestacre Stadium, their first season in the Counties brought more success as they won promotion as runners up to Longridge Town. After two Covid curtailed seasons, AVRO were fifth in the Premier Division when they stepped down from their roles in January of this year.

On his return to Heys O’Brien said “Once the opportunity came up to manage Heys, it was a no brainer for me. I know what this club is about, it’s run and supported by good people, always has been, and after a break that I enjoyed a little too much, the hunger is there to get back in the dugout. I have to give credit to Matt and his staff, who have left a good nucleus of players to work with and I am really looking forward to getting stuck in “.

Hampson echoed those words and added “It’s been a crazy 24 hours and I am grateful for the opportunity. We have had offers to go elsewhere but once the chance came up to manage Heys we just had to take it and I can’t wait to get started”

The duo will be joined by Paul Ubarno as Goalkeeping Coach and Wesley Roberts as Coach.

O’Brien and Hampson will take charge of their first game in the Bolton Hospital Cup tie at Tempest United, on Thursday night (6.30pm).

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